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I recently had an iLok problem when I upgraded my Waves Mercury & Studio Classics collection to v8. With all the new plug-ins they have released recently there are 121 licenses in the bundle and the maximum an original iLok can fit on is 118 so it was a new 2nd generation iLok for me. I must admit up to this point I hadn't seen the point of them, but now I was faced with a real benefit!Read More
I have just been on the new iLok site and noticed a Fun Stuff tab. I was them offered some wacky You Tub videos of some folk attempting to test iLoks to destruction and failing.So for your fun here they all are...
One of my clients had an iLok go down that it wasn't covered by ZDT. So what happened in this case?Day 1:I received a call from the client and it became apparent that the iLok was not being recognised and I found that the green LED on the iLok wasn't lit. I checked it in another known working USB socket but still no light. Fortunately the software assets on the iLok were not 'life threatening' to the client, so I moved the relevant plug-ins into the Disabled Plug-ins folder, so that they wouldn't complain every time Pro Tools was booted, and brought the iLok back to my office for further investigation. I verified on my system that there was still no light and also that the Pace software couldn't see the iLok either. It was definitely a dead dongle!Day 2:I went into the client's iLok account on ilok.com, and under the Help section, found an article on 'Broken, lost or stolen iLoks'. Clicking on the link I was presented with a clear set of instructions as to what to do next. Pace will replace the iLok free of charge if it fails in the first year and it hasn't been physically damaged.When you are satisfied it is faulty you have to start an 'RMA process', which involves sending it back to Pace in the US — there is no UK-based operation. You may be charged $39.95 plus shipping, depending what they find. Next, you need to fill in the on-line RMA form, which is clearly laid out, with prompts to help you along the way.Once I had submitted the RMA, I received an email from Pace explaining again how the process works, reminding me that I had to send them the iLok even if it started working again. The email confirmed the iLok serial number, gave me an RMA tracking ID and explained how and where to return the broken iLok. They strongly recommend that you send it via a service that requires a signature at the far end and offers a tracking system whilst in transit. They advise you to only insure the iLok for its hardware value and not include the value of the licences held on it, as this can cause a delay in Customs. A second email also arrived almost simultaneously, advising me of the potential total cost of $39.95 for the RMA and an estimated return shipping of $33.14.I packaged up the iLok in bubble wrap and then into a padded envelope, labelled exactly as described on the RMA confirmation email including the RMA number, and set off to my local post office. Airsure seemed to meet the advice from Pace, as it is a tracked service, and it cost £5.84 to send it insured up to the value of £36.Day 10:Eight days later I received an email from FedEx, advising me of the tracking number of a package from Pace.Day 11:I received an email from Waves advising me that they had been informed by Pace that some of the licences on the broken iLok were Waves licences, and that they had reset the Waves Authorisations on the client's Waves account so I could download the licences on to the new iLok when it arrived from Pace. The FedEx tracking system reported that the package was now in the UK.Day 12:The replacement iLok arrived, with the non-Waves licences already on it: all had been replaced. The iLok was replaced free of charge under warranty and all charges had been waived. I logged onto ilok.com, registered the new iLok on the client's iLok account, then moved onto the Waves site and downloaded the Waves licences from the client's Waves account on to it as well.Day 13:I returned the iLok to the client's system, moved the appropriate plug-ins back into the proper plug-ins folder and checked that everything was back to normal.We may all moan about iLoks but I have to give respect where it is due: Pace turned this iLok round incredibly quickly, especially when you consider there were two transatlantic trips in that period as well.So even though the iLok was not covered by ZDT, their system was effective and efficient.
Don't Shoot The Messenger!PACE have had a rough ride in some quarters over the years, but in my opinion it is mostly not their fault. If we where all nice honourable people, software manufacturers wouldn't need to use copy-protection products like the iLok system to protect their business and investment through developing all these creative and useful plug-ins. I accept that PACE have a duty to provide a reliable product so that we, the software developers' customers, are able to use our legally purchased plug-ins without problems and hindrance and I believe PACE have worked hard to develop a reliable system, as subcontractors to the software developers, to deal with end users like us through the iLok.com service. The other criticism levelled at PACE and iLok is that it's unfair to charge us for services like ZDT: after all, the argument goes, we have legitimately bought our plug-ins, and if we have a problem it should be sorted out as part of 'customer support'. Well it can and it does. If you are not covered by ZDT then, as with most products, all it costs you is to ship the damaged item back to the manufacturer or their agent (in this case PACE) and they will fix the problem and send you back a fully functioning device. The charges for that service would reflect whether the item was in warranty or not.What PACE and iLok are offering with ZDT is an insurance policy, similar in many ways to the sort of policy we take out to cover the possible loss of all our credit cards. In that case, all we have to do is phone one number and that company will contact all the different card companies on our behalf and get the lost cards blocked. We don't tend complain about paying for that sort of service, and for professional users, $30 per iLok per year is peanuts compared with two weeks' lost work and goodwill because you don't have any plug-ins on your system to edit and mix with.
If you aren't covered by ZDT then you can still use the iLok RMA procedure and send them the broken iLok, but you will be without your plug-ins until PACE have received your damaged iLok and validated it. That could be up to two weeks or so, as ZDT iLoks will take priority! Also note that PACE will only replace the iLok free of charge if it just stopped working and was found to be defective under their warranty terms. If was damaged by force (and this includes accidental damage) then you will need to buy a new iLok too. If you are covered by ZDT and your iLok gets lost or stolen then PACE will still provide you with a set of two-week temporary licences. However they won't be able to supply you with replacement full licences, as there is no iLok to analyse to prove what was really on it. Under these circumstances you will need to contact each software manufacturer and plead your case with each one, as they have different policies on replacing lost licences. Obviously you will also need a new iLok, too, but that will probably be the least of your worries. PACE and iLok.com operate a seven-day period of grace from the day when you take out ZDT to the day when they will provide temporary licences. This is to prevent you trying to subscribe to the service 'after the event'. However PACE haven't missed a trick, and if you are caught without ZDT you can bypass the seven-day grace period by paying an expediency fee of $100! There are a small number of software developers who are not fully involved with ZDT: The main ones are Waves and DUY Research but Pace will warn you during the sign up process exactly which software publishers aren’t covered. Even if you have ZDT, you will still need to deal directly with these manufacturers if you lose or damage an iLok containing an authorisation for one of their plug-ins. Consequently, you should consider having these manufacturers' plug-in licences on a different iLok, as if a problem arises, you may need to send the appropriate iLok to the appropriate Vendor rather than to PACE. These Vendors all have the ability to provide temporary licences to you but you will need to deal with each one separately. Waves state in their FAQ that they won't reissue replacement licences for a lost or stolen iLok and that you should insure against its loss: don't forget to arrange cover for the value of all the software authorised on it and not just the value of the iLok itself! As for defective or damaged iLoks, Waves advise you to follow the iLok.com RMA procedure. Then contact Waves Tech Support (using the Tech Support link in your Waves account), and send them your email correspondence with PACE to confirm the return of the defective iLok key. Make sure to include the old iLok key serial number and the RMA number in the email, and once PACE have validated the damaged iLok, Waves will 'reset your account'.
Zero Down Time PACE also offer a Zero Down Time package that is designed to get you back up as soon as possible after an iLok loss or failure. You should note that it is something you must sign up for before you lose your iLok, and it is a paid upgrade service available from iLok.com. With ZDT you can be back up within 15 to 20 minutes, but without it, it could be several weeks before you finally get sorted.ZDT is a kind of insurance policy and costs $30 per iLok per year or until the service is used. To use it, log into your account on the iLok.com site and follow the RMA (Return Merchandise Authorisation) procedure. The site will automatically deposit two-week temporary licenses for all your covered plug-ins into your iLok account. You then use the site to download those temporary licenses in the normal way onto a spare iLok and you are back in business. Now, as instructed, send the damaged iLok to PACE immediately. Once they have analysed it and validated it, they will put replacement full unlimited licenses into your account for you to download before the temporary licenses expire. As this process can take up to two weeks it is vitally important to get the damaged iLok off to them ASAP! Otherwise you will end up without cover, as the temporary licenses will have run out and PACE won't have validated the damaged iLok to enable them to supply you with replacement licenses. The damaged iLok has to go back to PACE in the USA, so it can take some time for them to receive and analyse it, and PACE are not legally permitted by the Vendors to replace the licenses without having done this. If your iLok is found to be damaged beyond repair or recognition so that PACE are unable to validate what licenses are held on it, you will need to claim from your insurance company for the loss.
Buying An iLok You can buy blank iLoks direct from PACE via the Buy section of iLok.com, or from Digidesign and their dealers. Additionally, Sonic Distribution are official distributors in Europe, and you can buy iLoks from their site at www.sonic-distribution.com. As well as iLoks themselves, PACE also sell a short USB extension cable they call a Dongle Buddy. Like any other hardware device, the iLok is susceptible to damage, and PACE found that a lot of the iLoks that had failed had been broken by for example, moving the computer too close to the wall or dropping something onto the keyboard. By taking the tension off the iLok, the Dongle Buddy helps to protect it from accidental damage. It has to be said, though, that the vast majority of iLoks work without any problem, and if you suspect your iLok is starting to fail, you can be pre-emptive and buy a new one before transferring the licences across for free, with no down time!
To transfer between different accounts ($25)Transferring licenses between different accounts (also known as transfer of ownership) is a very similar process to transferring within your own account and is great if you want to buy and sell any plug-ins from other users. It is handled securely by iLok.com, but be aware that this type of transfer is not free and iLok.com will charge you $25 per license to transfer ownership. So, for example, if you bought an upgrade with one the Massive Pack deals and you found you already owned some of the plug-ins in the bundle, you could sell the duplicates to a friend — if the software publisher makes it possible. Some allow for iLok-to-iLok transfer within an account, and some don't; however, iLok.com will tell you if they don't. Also, some companies don't allow any transfer of licenses at all. It is down to each software publisher's business policies.So it is worth checking with a software publisher before you try to buy or sell a plug-in, in case they do not allow transfers and you end up buying a plug-in you can't transfer onto your own iLok! It is up to the individual software publishers to determine what transfers they will permit under the terms of their license to you as the end user, but of course you all read and are fully conversant with the terms and conditions of each software license... after all, nobody would consider just clicking OK to the 'Have you read the term and conditions' tick box without studying them in detail, would they?Another factor to be aware of is that although iLok.com will email the software publisher to inform them of the license transfer, and note that the software publisher won't necessarily provide support for transferred plug-ins: as before, it is their choice.
PACE, the manufacturers of iLoks, have also introduced a number of additional licence-management features aimed at helping the end user to manage our iLok authorisations (for free) and protect our valuable iLoks (for a fee!) and it is these features we are going to look at now.Transferring Licences You can transfer licences between different iLoks. This service is free for any iLoks you own within one account on iLok.com. However, you can also transfer licences from one iLok to another on different accounts for a fee of $25 per licence, which enables you to buy plug-in licences 'second-hand'. To transfer within an account (free) To transfer licences between your own iLoks, first make sure your iLoks are plugged in to USB ports on your computer and then log into your account on iLok.com and choose the Transfer Licenses option. You will then need to synchronise your iLoks to make sure the data held on iLok.com matches what is on your iLoks. This will also tell you which licences are on which iLok. Make sure you don't remove your iLoks from the computer at this point. Then choose the source iLok and which licences you wish to move, select the destination iLok from the simple step-by-step instructions and it is done. Be aware, though, that you can run into problems synchronising and transferring licences if you're connecting to iLok.com from behind a proxy server or firewall, which will be the case for many corporate and educational users. If you do run into the dreaded "unexpected authorization error 411", your only option is to find another machine that's connected to the Internet in a different way. In part 3 we will look at how to transfer iLok assets between accounts for a fee.
Plug-ins are one of the elements that make Pro Tools so versatile, and since Digidesign opened their TDM, RTAS and Audiosuite protocols up to third-party developers, we now have an enormous range to choose from. However, plug-ins have always been susceptible to unauthorised copying, and software manufacturers and developers have felt the need to protect their investments by copy-protecting them. An iLok is a small key-shaped 'dongle' which you can plug into any USB port on a computer. The plug-in software checks for its presence, and if the iLok is detected and contains the correct authorisation, permits you to use that plug-in on that system. Take the iLok away and the software is no longer authorised and won't function. This makes the iLok a very valuable item as, in effect, it is worth the combined value of all the software plug-ins that are authorised on it — and each iLok can store up to 100 authorisations. It is also small, which makes it very easy to lose or steal. To assist software manufacturers and developers, PACE set up a 'central clearing house' and management web site called iLok.com (below). This site enables the manufacturers and developers (who PACE call Vendors) to 'deposit' licences (sometimes called 'assets') into users' accounts. The user is then able to download these onto their iLok. The web site also enables users to 'synchronise' their iLoks with ilok.com for users to upload licence details from the licence cards that some Vendors supply, for example, with retail products. In the next part we will look at what you can do on iLok.com